The Run Home – part 2: The equations

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert


118 Have your say

    Crusaders flanker Ethan Blackadder is tackled during the Round 16 Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Crusaders at Waikato Stadium on June 2, 2018 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

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    Results either side of the June international window has breathed new life into the Super Rugby finals race, as assumptions and guesstimates from not that long ago suddenly look more than a bit shaky.

    The Australian and South African conferences now have just one win – or less – separating the top two teams.

    Teams previously thought well out of the race are well and truly back in it, and teams assumed to be on track for a finals appearance now have a bit of work to do.

    As it stands right now (and assuming my maths is right), only two teams will definitely make the finals: the Crusaders can’t finish any lower than fourth overall and will have a home final in week one of the playoffs one way or the other.

    The Hurricanes also can’t finish any lower than eighth overall.

    Nine other teams can finish in the remaining six playoff positions, and with anywhere between second and eighth overall still very much in play with two rounds to play. So much for the top eight looking settled.

    Crusaders – currently 1st overall + 1st in NZ: 54 points, 12 wins
    To come: Highlanders and Blues; both at home in Christchurch.

    One win in their remaining two games will probably be enough for the 2017 champion Crusaders to claim top spot overall, giving them all the home ground advantages possible for a back-to-back title defence.

    It would be tempting to write the Highlanders off after their showing in Suva on Saturday, but we all know the South Island derbies have a habit of ignoring form. Still, I can’t see the Crusaders dropping both remaining games that would see them surrendering a well-earned minor premiership.

    Lions – currently 2nd overall + 1st in RSA: 41 points, 8 wins
    To come: A bye this weekend, followed by the Bulls at home in Johannesburg.

    Where once the Lions looked certain of a home final not that long ago, suddenly they’re on very, very shaky ground. They can still claim the South African conference, and a couple of Waratahs losses in addition would allow them to hold onto second. But other results conspiring against them could see them drop out of the eight altogether.

    At least their equation is simple, as far as the conference goes: with no points possible this weekend, they simply must beat the Bulls in Round 19, and hope the Jaguares don’t win their remaining games and overtake them.

    The Lions have a big bonus point advantage over the Jaguares, but the Argentineans will go ahead with a better win record should they finish equal on points.

    On that point, a reminder of the Super Rugby tie-breaking process: Should teams finish equal on points, the most wins are the first step; then points differential; then most tries scored, and then the differential between tries scored and tries conceded. If the teams are still locked together after all that, it literally comes down to a coin toss.

    Waratahs – currently 3rd overall + 1st in AUS: 39 points, 8 wins
    To come: homes games in Sydney against the Sunwolves and Brumbies.

    If the ‘Tahs edge close to securing the Australian conference this weekend coming, those two Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley intercepts in Melbourne on Friday night will only take on more significance.

    Having beaten the Rebels, and the Lions losing to the Sharks, two wins from their remaining games will be enough for the Waratahs to secure second spot and home ground advantage for the finals. Take no points out of either remaining games, however, and other results could see them miss the finals completely.

    In short, get there, ‘Tahs fans. Your team needs you in numbers.

    Hurricanes – currently 4th overall + 2nd in NZ: 45 points, 10 wins
    To come: Blues at home in Wellington this weekend, then the Chiefs in Hamilton.

    They will play finals in 2018, but it really feels like the ‘Canes have lost form in three successive losses. The loss to the Brumbies leaves them within arm’s reach of both the Chiefs and Highlanders, meaning a home final still needs to be earned.

    TJ Perenara

    But they can still top the NZ conference and finish first overall if the Crusaders lose both remaining games, so that should be motivation enough. Lose both games themselves, though, and other results could drop them as low as eighth.

    Chiefs– currently 5th overall + 3rd in NZ: 41 points, 9 wins
    To come: Brumbies and Hurricanes, both at home in Hamilton.

    They were super impressive in Suva, the Chiefs, and now they have a bit more control of their destiny. Win both remaining games, and they can claim a home final; lose both, and the freefall could be fatal for 2018.

    Their final match against the Hurricanes could well decide who finishes as the top wildcard.

    Highlanders – currently 6th overall + 4th in NZ: 40 points, 9 wins
    To come: the Crusaders in Christchurch, followed by the Rebels at home in Dunedin.

    They weren’t so impressive in Suva, the Highlanders. But at least the loss hasn’t hurt them too much; like the Chiefs two wins and other results could lift them into the top wildcard place, but equally, they could also miss the top eight entirely with no further competition points and teams below them winning everything.

    Jaguares – currently 7th overall + 2nd in RSA: 38 points, 9 wins
    To come: one last mini-tour – the Bulls in Pretoria and the Sharks in Durban.

    They didn’t just run in the bottom half of the competition for the first half of the season, they ran in the bottom three. But by Round 11, they were in a wildcard spot and now, less than a win behind the Lions, they can take the South African conference lead with a win over the Bulls at Loftus this weekend. What a ride it’s been.

    Though two losses and other results could bundle them out of the playoffs completely, topping the conference and being able to play a final in Buenos Aires could make them that much harder to beat again.

    Rebels – currently 8th overall + 2nd in AUS: 35 points, 7 wins
    To come: away games against the Reds in Brisbane, and the Highlanders in Dunedin.

    Well, they lost a game they really should have won on Friday night, but the Rebels remain in the top eight currently, and with a three-point gap over the Sharks behind them. Though their equation isn’t quite as easy as the Jaguares, the Rebels can also top the conference if they start winning and the Waratahs start dropping games (though the ‘Tahs do have one more win currently).

    Will Genia

    Lose even just one game, however, and they run the risk of being overtaken by the Sharks.

    Sharks – currently 9th overall + 3rd in RSA: 32 points, 6 wins
    To come: the Stormers in Cape Town, and the Jaguares at home in Durban.

    Just have to win both games, first and foremost. Two wins, some bonus points, and other results could see them finish as high as fifth, but in reality, it’s the Jaguares and Rebels firmly in their sights. They were really impressive closing down the Lions, but the Sharks have also been really hot and cold this season.

    It’s entirely up to them.

    Brumbies – currently 10th overall + 3rd in AU: 29 points, 6 wins
    To come: Chiefs in Hamilton, then the return leg of the Hume Highway derby against the Waratahs in Sydney.

    I’d put the line through the Brumbies back in Part 1 of The Run Home, you might recall, but suddenly, somehow, they’re back in with a chance, albeit a faint one at that. It’s knockout rugby for the Brumbies now. Keep winning and they might play finals if teams above them lose everything; lose, and they’re done.

    Bulls – currently 11th overall + 4th in RSA: 25 points, 5 wins
    To come: Jaguares at home in Pretoria, followed by the Lions down the highway in Johannesburg.

    It’s purely mathematical for the Bulls. They need the Rebels and Sharks to lose both games, the Brumbies to drop out of the race, and then need to make up a differential gap (currently 43 points) to the Rebels, just so that they could take the final wildcard on a count-back.

    Good luck with that…

    Stormers – currently 12th overall + 5th in RSA: 25 points, 5 wins
    To come: Sharks at home in Cape Town, then a Round 19 bye.

    Can’t happen. The loss to the Jaguares means the final round bye kills off any chance of even just drawing level with the eighth-placed Rebels. They’re done for 2018.

    The top eight could easily be decided this weekend, but at the very least you would expect the field to be thinned somewhat. But, given the results we saw in Round 17 on the weekend, we should probably be expecting the unexpected.

    It’s not great for tips, but it is creating a really interesting finish to the season.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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    The Crowd Says (118)

    • July 3rd 2018 @ 5:34am
      Jeff said | July 3rd 2018 @ 5:34am | ! Report

      “‘One win in their remaining two games will probably be enough for the 2017 champion Crusaders to claim top spot overall, giving them all the home ground advantages possible for a back-to-back title defence.'”

      One win in their remaining two games will definitely be enough to claim top spot overall as they are currently 9 points ahead and it is impossible for anyone to score 14 points in 2 games.

      • Roar Guru

        July 3rd 2018 @ 5:44am
        taylorman said | July 3rd 2018 @ 5:44am | ! Report

        Lucky ones not the Blues then😆

      • July 3rd 2018 @ 8:23am
        cantab said | July 3rd 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        Haha, Brett didn’t back the Crusaders at the start of the season, nor at the run home part 1, even now talking them down. 2 points is all they need to make it ‘mathematically impossible’ to lose, but likely already have enough.

        • July 3rd 2018 @ 10:05am
          Jeff said | July 3rd 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

          It would be interesting to see how often Brett picked the Crusaders in the weekly picking competition.

          • Columnist

            July 3rd 2018 @ 10:14am
            Brett McKay said | July 3rd 2018 @ 10:14am | ! Report

            Ten times in 14 games, in fact. And three of the four times I didn’t pick them, neither did the majority of the panel.

            Sorry to kill off the conspiracy theory…

            • Roar Guru

              July 3rd 2018 @ 6:19pm
              Ralph said | July 3rd 2018 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

              LOL, okay guys, pack away the Brett McKay Piñata lookalike.

              Maybe at a later date ..

      • July 3rd 2018 @ 8:35am
        Pinetree said | July 3rd 2018 @ 8:35am | ! Report

        Yep, Brett just needed to cut out the word “probably”

        Even IF the Crusaders lose both games to the Highlanders and Blues in Christchurch, without BP, The Hurricanes will need a least one BP win AND close the 70 Points diff. Crusaders lose both games with 1 BP, then Canes will need 2 BP wins and close the diff gap. Crusaders lose both games with 2 losing BP, they top the table.

        Crusaders have won 10 games on the trot though, so I think our boys will keep plowing through the opposition anyway.

        Jags have won 7 games in a row, including the tour to Aus and NZ. No reason why they can’t continue to win in SA if they can win in NZ. They will be tough to beat at home if they win the next 2 games, and built off the confidence of what would be then a nine game winning streak.

        Tahs should seal top of their conference with the ‘wolves and Brumbies in Sydney. Rebels will find it hard with away games to the Reds and Highlanders. The Rebels SHOULD beat the Reds, but we all know how these local derbies can fall sometimes in the final couple of rounds…

      • Columnist

        July 3rd 2018 @ 9:46am
        Brett McKay said | July 3rd 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

        ha, isn’t language funny…

        While you’re all right in what you say, I was actually coming from the point that with a nine-point buffer to the misfiring Hurricanes already in pace, the Crusaders might not need to win another game at all to hold top spot anyway – hence, just one win “probably” would be enough!

        • July 3rd 2018 @ 9:51am
          Pinetree said | July 3rd 2018 @ 9:51am | ! Report

          Haha, sorry Brett, I get what you mean now!!

        • July 3rd 2018 @ 7:37pm
          Joseph said | July 3rd 2018 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

          Brett you to re-do high school English.

    • Roar Guru

      July 3rd 2018 @ 6:18am
      Corne Van Vuuren said | July 3rd 2018 @ 6:18am | ! Report

      Overall a poor showing by the SA teams, most teams were competitive in many of their losses against overseas teams, but simply not good enough.

      Not sure where to put the blame anymore, but it is not acceptable anymore.

      • July 3rd 2018 @ 6:32am
        P2R2 said | July 3rd 2018 @ 6:32am | ! Report

        Corne this is always the same old tripe given by Saffas et al about how badly their teams have performed….all shout and hip hip at the start and whimpers and moans towards the end….can’t handle the pace, the travel and dropping like flies…why would one want to appoint or finger blame…the whole system is defunct…to be honest, I think SA were lucky to win 2-1 v England…England should have won that first test….but didn’t and SA should have won the last test but didn’t…so what does that say about SA going forward…?

      • July 3rd 2018 @ 12:47pm
        JRVJ said | July 3rd 2018 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

        My two bits: South Africa should have improved tremendously with the disappearance of the Cheetahs and even the S. Kings.

        But those sides didn’t actually disappear…. they (mostly) moved to Europe….

        Australia actually is looking better, in that the Rebels did improve because of the players they got from the W. Force….

        But in any case, it’s only one season. It’s probably going to look different next year, especially with the Jaguars beating all the SA teams……. (i.e., the Saffa franchises surely have to engage in a bit of an arms race to keep up with the Jags, which finally seem to be delivering on their promise prior to the 2016 SR season).

        • July 3rd 2018 @ 1:00pm
          moa said | July 3rd 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

          The Jaguares are surely the success story of the season.
          It really is great ( and a relief ) to see them doing well.I hope they make it to top spot for variety’s sake if nothing else.

        • July 3rd 2018 @ 1:45pm
          Zenn said | July 3rd 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

          Clearly the Rebel-Force were the major beneficiaries of the 2017 Force farce. The Waratahs have also benefited greatly from signing Curtis Rona.

          Here’s the 2107 Force squad to remind Roarers of how the remaining teams benefited.

          Forwards: Jermaine Ainsley, Richard Arnold, Adam Coleman, Angus Cottrell, Pek Cowan, Ben Daley, Tetera Faulkner, Richard Hardwick, Ross Haylett-Petty, Matt Hodgson, Kane Koteka, Ben Matwijow, Ben McCalman, Isi Naisarani, Matt Philip, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Anaru Rangi, Harry Scoble, Brynard Stander, Heath Tessmann, Francios van Wyk, Shambeckler Vui.

          Backs: Marcel Brache, Luke Burton, Robbie Coleman, Peter Grant, Dane Haylett-Petty, Jono Lance, Ryan Louwrens, Semisi Masirewa, Bill Meakes, Luke Morahan, Chance Peni, Ian Prior, Curtis Rona, Michael Ruru.

          • Roar Rookie

            July 3rd 2018 @ 2:01pm
            Paul D said | July 3rd 2018 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

            “The Waratahs have also benefited greatly from signing Curtis Rona.”

            Good signing yes, Benefited greatly? That’s a stretch. He’s doing well and he was certainly needed this year, but he’s not the difference between 2017 and 2018. And he’s not yet proved to be a huge improvement over Horne.

            Player roster (aside from KB) has had very little to do with the improvements at the Tahs

        • Roar Guru

          July 3rd 2018 @ 4:56pm
          Corne Van Vuuren said | July 3rd 2018 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

          Well the player exodus isn’t stopping anytime soon either, you would really think there must be a bloody saturation point, but no, it seems not.

      • July 3rd 2018 @ 5:56pm
        Just Nuisance said | July 3rd 2018 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

        No SA side has shown any real improvement on last year Corne’ .

        1. Bulls were actually so badly coached and selected 2017 that even a small improvement under Mitchell seems much bigger than it is.
        2. Lions despite the big reputation of Swys DeBruin as the 2017 attack coach just lost too many key players and the departure of Ackerman and son was huge .
        3. Sharks on paper the best of all SA sides and the one team to least fear NZ teams lack cohesion . Du Preez ticks all the boxes on paper . So did Alistair Coetzee.
        4. Stormers warrant a commision of inquiry . Fleck is not up to standard . Didn’t help by losing Etsebeth .

        My point is all SA sides have shown downwards or sideways movement from last year . From my summation it is clear I point the accusing finger directly at coaches . Losing key players is a factor but so do all other sides .

        • Roar Guru

          July 3rd 2018 @ 7:55pm
          Corne Van Vuuren said | July 3rd 2018 @ 7:55pm | ! Report

          Don’t agree with everything you mentioned there just nuisance.

          Swys de Bruyn didn’t have a high reputation and most including me suggested the Lions will go backwards under him, however losing big name players like Kriel, Janse van Rensburg and a few others isn’t helping their cause at all.

          The Bulls have shown much improvement under Mitchell, their play at times were scintilating, now and then they fell back into their predictable patterns, but their decisn making is improving, slowly but surely, and their competitiveness is there. A bit of luck and a few better decisions and their season would have looked different.

          Sharks have the talent, but I don’t think du Preez is a good enough coach, just my opinion. The Sharks had some great game,s and then some extremely ordinary games, very inconsistent, and at times seemed unmotivated.

          Stormers need a new culture, it should start with cleaning out the administration and coaching staff. Then start over.

    • July 3rd 2018 @ 7:03am
      Cynical Play said | July 3rd 2018 @ 7:03am | ! Report

      Certainly the injuries are piling up. The Oz squads depth will be exposed. Tahs depth looks OK. Rebels too but any more might be hard to cover. No Hooper means no final I fear for the Tahs.

      • July 3rd 2018 @ 7:29am
        ForwardsWinMatches said | July 3rd 2018 @ 7:29am | ! Report

        One step at a time CP. Tahs need to show up with their A game against the Wolves and make sure of it – and obviously try to secure a bonus point. That should be enough for Aussie conference if we assume the Rebels can’t beat the Highlanders in NZ. However, the big prize for the Tahs is second over-all and that means (likely) they have to beat the Brumbies in the final round. Brumbies will be fired up to spoil the party.

        • July 3rd 2018 @ 9:22am
          jameswm said | July 3rd 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report

          Absolutely they will.

          When is Hooper back? After the last two rounds it’ll be 3 games he’s missed.
          Miller is at least an in form like for like replacement. Dempsey would have been nice to partner Wells.

          • Roar Guru

            July 3rd 2018 @ 9:54am
            jeznez said | July 3rd 2018 @ 9:54am | ! Report

            I’m no Hanigan fan but thought he went well on the weekend. Was actually shifting bodies at ruck time which was great to see.

            Neither Hooper nor Dempsey appear likely to show for the Tahs in the remaining matches. Maybe Hooper depending on the finals. Story last week said he’ll be another month.

            • Roar Rookie

              July 3rd 2018 @ 10:11am
              tsuru said | July 3rd 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

              And Gibson, when interviewed last week, was pessimistic about Dempsey being ready before the NRC.

          • July 3rd 2018 @ 12:46pm
            Reality Check said | July 3rd 2018 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

            If Hooper is out of the RC we may have our first real chance to win the Bledisloe in many years.

            • July 3rd 2018 @ 1:10pm
              ForwardsWinMatches said | July 3rd 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

              First “real” chance….

            • July 3rd 2018 @ 4:19pm
              eduardo kawak said | July 3rd 2018 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

              Wallabies were about 5 mins away from winning the Bledisloe last year. Only just pipped in Dunedin, and won in Brisbane.

    • July 3rd 2018 @ 7:20am
      Ex force fan said | July 3rd 2018 @ 7:20am | ! Report

      In the beginning of the season I predicated that if you pick the top 8 teams from last year that 6 of them should make the finals this year again. Between 2015 to 2017 only 9 teams (vs. 13 in AFL) made the top 8 (this is ridiculous!), while only 6 teams assisted by the conference system (vs. 8 in AFL) made the top 4 and enjoyed a home semi-final. An AFL supporter can be confident that their team (even one of the minnows) should make the finals at least once in a four years period as “vertical mobility” is provided though a salary cap (no top ups here) and a drafting system. The miracle in rugby is that teams that are cannon feed year on year still have supporters left. This makes rugby far less interesting and the results from games far more predictable and it is no wonder that AFL is kicking union’s butt at the moment.

      Please see the lists below for the top 8 teams in order in Superugby and AFL respectively with those in [brackets] teams that were not in the Top 8 in the previous year.

      2018 (current): Crusaders, Lions, [Tahs], Hurricanes, Chiefs, Highlanders, [Jaquares], [Rebels]
      2017: Lions, Crusaders, Stormers, Brumbies, Hurricanes, Chiefs, Highlanders, Sharks
      2016 Hurricanes, Lions, Stormers, Brumbies, Highlanders, Chiefs, Crusaders, [Sharks]
      2015: Hurricanes, Tahs, [Stormers], Highlanders, Chiefs, Brumbies, Crusaders, [Lions]

      2018 (current): Richmond, [Collingwood], West Coast, Sydney, Port Adelaide, GWS, [Melbourne], [Geelong]
      2017: Adelaide, Geelong, [Richmond], GWS, [Port Adelaide], Sydney, [Essendon], [West Coast]
      2016 Sydney, [Geelong], Hawthorn, [GWS], Adelaide, West Coast, Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne
      2015: Fremantle, [West Coast], Hawthorn, Sydney, Richmond, [Western Bulldogs], [Adelaide], [North Melbourne]

      • Columnist

        July 3rd 2018 @ 10:02am
        Brett McKay said | July 3rd 2018 @ 10:02am | ! Report

        The AFL also has the benefit of equalisation measures, EFF, notably a salary cap that applies across the board and a draft – both with the purpose of ensuring the playing talent is reasonably evenly distributed. Frankly, it would be a huge failure on the AFL’s part if they didn’t have that kind of variation every year.

        Hardly a valid, and certainly not a very fair comparison…

        • Roar Rookie

          July 3rd 2018 @ 11:47am
          piru said | July 3rd 2018 @ 11:47am | ! Report

          I think that was the point of the post Brett – that equalisation measures such as those seen in the biggest sports leagues make for a more exciting competition.

          • Columnist

            July 3rd 2018 @ 11:58am
            Brett McKay said | July 3rd 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

            Sure, but it’s a hell of lot easier to do that your competition doesn’t cross borders, Piru…

            • Roar Rookie

              July 3rd 2018 @ 12:12pm
              piru said | July 3rd 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

              True, but should we just not do things because they are hard?

              Twiggy has just created a league more or less by himself in less than a year. Admittedly he has all kinds of money to throw at things, but if SANZAAR were to admit to themselves that a lack of competition is not good for the comp they could at least get the ball rolling.

              Start with a draft imo

              • July 3rd 2018 @ 1:03pm
                Pinetree said | July 3rd 2018 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

                NZ already has a sort of draft system to equal out excess talent of any team, which keeps the team close in competitiveness to each other. The Blues just lack good coaching. I don’t believe the draft would work over the entire comp with NZ players being drafted to Aus and SA teams for example, as rightly or wrongly, the super rugby is seen as country vs country as well.

              • July 3rd 2018 @ 3:10pm
                Ex force fan said | July 3rd 2018 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

                And NZ is the only country where crowds are growing…. underscoring the point that if games are more competitive they are more entertaining…and thus more valuable.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 3rd 2018 @ 2:05pm
                Paul D said | July 3rd 2018 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

                “should we just not do things because they are hard?”

                There is hard and there is impossible. I don’t see NZ ever agreeing to their players being drafted to AUS or SA. Even if it meant the end of Super Rugby.

              • Roar Guru

                July 3rd 2018 @ 2:24pm
                Train Without A Station said | July 3rd 2018 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

                Yeah that’s the issue isn’t it Paul.

                Each nation has their own financial issues so each nation wants to maximize home finals and interest. There’s no way they’d agree to equalization measures that would compromise this.

                It was easy to get the home final for the conference winners because with the change in structure we were adding more finals games – essentially we were giving away games that didn’t exist prior to the change.

              • July 3rd 2018 @ 3:07pm
                Ex force fan said | July 3rd 2018 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

                If each union could see the bigger picture, the will realise that they will be financially better off if the quality of the competition is better. If each game count you will attract more spectators, more viewers and more broadcasting revenue. This is the fatal flaw in Superugby – it is losing its entertainment value as it is too predictable.

              • Columnist

                July 3rd 2018 @ 4:16pm
                Brett McKay said | July 3rd 2018 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

                You know as well as any EFF, that self-interest is the driving factor behind most top level rugby decisions. The unions can’t see that big picture, because they’ll all too busy looking at their own big picture…

              • Columnist

                July 3rd 2018 @ 2:43pm
                Brett McKay said | July 3rd 2018 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

                Piru, I have great admiration for what has been achieved in the west this year, and the Force games have been enjoyable, but we’re still a long way from having any new league established over there yet. And a draft won’t work for WSR either, because no Australian player will be willingly drafted to play outside Australia and not be Wallabies eligible.

                That’s more than just ‘hard’.

                As for Super Rugby, I’ve long been an advocate for opening the borders, but even I know that a comp-wide draft won’t be accepted…

              • Roar Rookie

                July 3rd 2018 @ 5:24pm
                piru said | July 3rd 2018 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

                Ok so I guess leave it as it is then?

                This is such a prevalent attitude, not just in rugby but every where and it drives me nuts.

                The current way of doing things sucks, but changing is hard so we’ll just sit and moan about it and be miserable.

                Draft within countries to start with, that’s doable surely?

              • July 3rd 2018 @ 11:54pm
                Bakkies said | July 3rd 2018 @ 11:54pm | ! Report

                ‘And a draft won’t work for WSR either, because no Australian player will be willingly drafted to play outside Australia and not be Wallabies eligible.’

                147 players with Super Rugby experience were willing to give up Wallabies eligibility to play overseas so those players will just do the same thing but just be closer to home. Matt Hodgson has already had over 300 expressions of interest. A lot of those from players already abroad who are willing to move closer to Australia and warmer climes.

            • July 3rd 2018 @ 3:12pm
              Ex force fan said | July 3rd 2018 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

              So was it just easier to cut a team…?

              • July 3rd 2018 @ 9:11pm
                Barney said | July 3rd 2018 @ 9:11pm | ! Report

                As usual, a very SANZcentric perspective.

                What about Argentina and Japan?

                With this draft system, potentially the Sunwolves won’t have a single Japanese player?

                As for the Jaguares, they might actually have a surplus of SR level players so could be a net supplier to the other teams.
                However this won’t benefit them as relatively, they would be much weaker than they are now.

                Every solution brings along more problems.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 7:40pm
                Ex force fan said | July 4th 2018 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

                Barney with this line of thought we should really stop to find solutions to problems….

              • July 5th 2018 @ 11:36am
                Barney said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:36am | ! Report

                Not at all, just need to find solutions that is best for every country.

        • July 3rd 2018 @ 3:02pm
          Ex force fan said | July 3rd 2018 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

          Brett, if you want an exciting comp then every teams must be able to win the competition. If you don’t make it entertaining and unpredictable you end up with the crowd and viewer figures we saw this year. AFL is kicking our butt even in our heartland because the competition is too predictable. That was the point.

          • Columnist

            July 3rd 2018 @ 4:19pm
            Brett McKay said | July 3rd 2018 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

            I understand your point. That doesn’t make it any fairer or more valid a comparison..

            • July 3rd 2018 @ 4:50pm
              Ex force fan said | July 3rd 2018 @ 4:50pm | ! Report

              If the narrow self-interest and inability to see the big picture prevent SANZAAR from developing a more entertaining competition and learn from what work in other competitions.. It is a lack of leadership that is preventing SANZAAR from putting a better Superugby competition up. It is difficult as it requires cooperation and collaboration – but it is a perfectly fair point to make.

              • July 3rd 2018 @ 9:37pm
                Barney said | July 3rd 2018 @ 9:37pm | ! Report

                As usual, a very SANZcentric perspective.

                And what of Japan and Argentina?

                The Sunwolves will have a token Japanese player on the bench at best.

                The Jaguares might actually have surplus players to supply to the rest of the teams but they will be relatively weaker so cannot say they benefit.

                Every solution comes with new problems.

              • July 3rd 2018 @ 11:32pm
                Ex force fan said | July 3rd 2018 @ 11:32pm | ! Report

                So should we stop finding soluions and give up?

    • July 3rd 2018 @ 7:27am
      Jamie said | July 3rd 2018 @ 7:27am | ! Report

      Hi Brett

      Thank you! I was waiting for this, it is great to find out exactly where everybody is at.

      Go Tahs! … and hoping the rebels sneak in also

    • Columnist

      July 3rd 2018 @ 7:28am
      Geoff Parkes said | July 3rd 2018 @ 7:28am | ! Report

      Thanks Brett. Before the weekend it felt like the Rebels and Sharks competing for 8th, and it still does – but with the Sharks beating the top SA team and the Rebels losing a match they really should have won, it’s even tighter between them.

      With the Rebels visiting Dunedin in the last round, they really need 5 points this week in Brisbane. Not as easy as it sounds, no way the Reds can be as poor again this week.